“Sometimes having an advanced practice looks like using your voice to say no”. – Alexandria Crow.
We’ve lost yoga in the world of Instagram Handstands, Contortionists & Gymnasts. Achieving impossible backbends, splits and transitions have turned our practice into a way to torture ourselves. Your yoga practice can empower you to build acceptance in yourself. Today, we’ll give you five tips to nurture and empower your practice, so you can set yourself free from all the nonsense you see online.
- Learn to Say No
No one gets prices at the end of the class. You don’t make it to the wall of fame for handstanding. And definitely, you’re not a better yogi for taking the most advanced variation of a pose.
My point is that if a pose doesn’t work for you, it doesn’t feel nice, or you don’t fancy doing it; it’s okay.
My teacher Jaime Clarke said once: ‘The only person that cares about your handstands is you. So, why do you care?’.
Truth hurts. But it’s also freeing. Say no to yoga asanas you don’t want to do. It’s ok. Life moves on.
- Practice non-attachment
Aparigraha is the last Yama in Patanjali’s Eight Limbs of Yoga. Aparigraha means non-attachment, and sometimes we refer to it to speak about possessions. But we can practice aparigraha on the mat.
Can we step on our mat without the need to perform? Can we just move, breathe and be in the moment? Accepting that yoga is not about achieving a pose, that some days you’ll feel like a ninja on the mat and others like an elephant in a China shop will empower your practice and feel more playful and free on the mat. We show up anyway. Because the practice is not about the outcome, it’s all about what we learn on the journey.
- Let go of the “Yoga Pose Hierarchy” Mindset
Who says Savasana is easy and forearm stand is hard? Why is using a bind in extended side angle more advanced than not going for that option? Why do you “rest” in child pose but “hold” downward dog?
You will often notice teachers using language like “just”, “simply”, “advanced”, “beginner”, “flexible enough”, etc. This can make some of us feel uncomfortable and left out. While I’m aware the industry is changing, you can empower yourself and completely ignore the hierarchy of poses. Because in general there are no better poses than others. We don’t need to look like someone on Instagram.
Allow your practice to be yours.
- Be Your Own Teacher
Yoga is there to serve YOU, not the other way around. No one better than you to assess if a yoga pose, variation, or style is not for you. You are most likely your wisest teacher.
Trust that inner wisdom and feel free to explore your own variations, use props your way and acknowledge the signals your body sends you whenever you step on the mat.
This will empower you to find freedom in your practice, and, after all, your practice is only yours.
- Ask Questions & Do Your Research
Practice doesn’t end on the mat. There is SO MUCH you can learn about yoga. A great way of taking charge of your practice is to strive to learn more about your yoga practice by asking questions after class. Maybe finding workshops that match your interests. Find books and resources that help you show to the mat empowered and take your practice to the next level.
Practice from a place of non-competitiveness, non-judgment and no pressure is the only way to set yourself free. Transform your yoga practice from resistance and insecurity into empowerment. Allow yourself to truly be present and enjoy every second you’re on your mat.
About Anna De Sousa
Anna is a London-based yoga teacher & Digital Strategist & writer. After teaching yoga full-time for a couple of years, she joined the Digital Marketing team at MoreYoga to spread the word about wellness even further. Anna is fun and energetic, and she brings her warm personality to everything she does.